OPINION

Stamp out racism

Even as we worry about the evils the crisis will bring upon us, the rise in racism and violence have already dealt our society a vicious blow and should cause feelings of sorrow and anger.

In the general climate of insecurity and deprivation, primitive political groups have taken the opportunity (and, to some extent, gained legitimacy) to attack migrants.

If the whole of society does not mobilize to disarm them morally and literally, the few thugs will become many, and they will shame Greeks across the world.

Whoever has lived abroad, who has traveled, worked or studied outside Greece, has leaned on the kindness, the hospitality, or at least the tolerance of the locals and other travelers.

In antiquity, irrespective of whether one was rich or an exile or a refugee, he enjoyed the protection of Zeus — something all Greeks should know.

The ancient Greeks had the wisdom to know that each one of us can find himself needing the help of others.

They also knew that no one was superior, that they all depended on each other.

From prehistory till today, the Greeks traveled as few other people did.

Soldiers, merchants, sailors, geographers, historians, philosophers, poets, adventurers, settlers, students and tourists — there is hardly an inch of the planet that they did not visit, that did not become Greek for a while.

Everywhere, the Greeks took their zest for life, their great interest in learning and teaching, in sharing with others.

I was born in a distant land where the Greeks were immigrants and whites the minority.

I may have felt a foreigner, but that was mainly because I had a name that differed from other children, I knew a strange language and heard of close relatives in a distant country.

I had the good fortune that the ?locals? — black and white — judged me more for what I was, they gave me the same opportunities as they had.

For years I traveled as a journalist.

From Africa to Iraq to China, from England to the USA and the depths of Turkey, the fact that I was Greek opened doors and hearts.

Everyone knew the Greeks, either from history, philosophy and the arts or from contact with Greeks and Greece.

We had never oppressed another nation, we expressed solidarity with the oppressed, everywhere we found Greeks who fought for the liberty of others, who were known for their academic achievements, or their businesses, or because they were good neighbors and good citizens of the countries they had chosen as their new homes.

Today that more and more Greeks are deciding to seek their fortunes outside Greece, it is dangerous to allow criminals with inferiority complexes to blacken our nation?s name.

It is a disgrace.